Safe Driving at Any Age
By Megan Morrow
Published January 17, 2019
In 2015, more than 40 million licensed drivers were 65 years or older, a 50 percent increase from just 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). While many older drivers can be more cautious drivers, four of five seniors run the risk of impaired driving owing to medication, slower response time or increasing loss of vision and/or hearing.
No matter what your age, safe driving is more critical than ever, with the many distractions of cell phones, inclement weather and busy schedules. If you, or someone you love of advanced age, will be getting behind the wheel soon, consider these tips for safer, smarter driving:
- Brush up your skills. Renewing your driver’s license is often as simple as paying a fee, taking a quick eye exam and signing on the dotted line. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a refresher course (since it has likely been decades since your first round of driver’s education), sign up for a senior or private driver’s education class.
- Tune up. In addition to enhancing skills, automobiles can be tuned up for safer driving. Everything from mirrors to blind spots, and from seat height to the steering wheel, can be evaluated to determine if it is in good working order and suits the particular driver. Advanced driver assistance systems (collision warnings and blind-spot monitoring, for example) can also support driving, but should only be a part of an overall safe driving experience.
- Set up for success. It goes without saying that drivers should always wear a seat belt and avoid driving while tired or distracted. In addition, talk with your doctor about how medications may influence driving and manage the length of trips, taking regular breaks as needed. Regular exercise can also enhance strength and flexibility.
- Have a conversation. Just because you are talking about giving up the car keys does not mean it has to happen immediately; however, having this discussion is important. If a parent, spouse or friend is facing issues that could impair driving ability, planning and ongoing conversations are critical to safety and acceptance. Experts recommend a holding a one-on-one conversation, rather than a group intervention, and ensuring that the person you are talking with feels involved in the decision. It is also wise to have alternatives, like public transportation or ride sharing, at the ready.
Furthermore, AAA offers a senior driving center, including a self-rating tool for drivers as well as information on professional assessments, improving driving skills, resources for friends and family, and more.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.